Again, if you haven’t read Feiren’s excellent post yesterday on AIT Chairman Steve Young’s blunt criticism of Blue obstructionism on the arms purchase over at Taiwan Matters, you need to. Feiren writes:


Crystal clear. End of strategic ambiguity. Finally someone in the US administration who understands that what we need is clarity, not obfuscation. Tellingly, Ma Ying-jeou complained that Young would have advanced his cause if he had been more ‘wan3zhuan3′ or indirect. Bullshit. The Taiwanese people need to hear what their security partner thinks directly without the mediation of paternal nationalists like Ma.

And just in case Ma was not listening carefully:

The United States is watching closely and will judge those who take responsible positions on this as well as those who play politics. Because fundamentally, this moment and this opportunity could pass and be missed by Taiwan if it doesn’t seize it.

Again this is 指桑罵槐 ‘pointing at the mulberry while cursing the acacia.’ While the immediate target is James Soong, Young and the US are in fact rightly holding Ma Ying-jeou responsible for the arms budget impasse.

The US does not want to see Taiwan go the way of South Korea and become a Chinese client state. After years of wondering if anyone in Washington gets Taiwan, we have an answer: Steve Young does.


Heady stuff from a longtime commentator on things Taiwan. I’ve also commented on the Taipei Times publishing a couple of articles today further expanding on the issues.


As for me, for the entire year and more I’ve been asking US officialdom to send someone over here with the clout and the understanding to talk directly to the Blues and inform them that the world doesn’t revolve around them, and, to get the US to do it again and again until the message sinks in. It’s an absolute delight to see the US actually doing that. Now if only Steve Young would brng me back a 10 pound brick of fresh parmesan from his next trip to the States, AIT would complete my happiness….

IMHO, the US really, really needs to do something about the price of the submarines. Even the supporters of the purchase have trouble swallowing that one…….and they would shut up the Blues instantly, exposing their intransigence-for-the-sake-of-intransigence for all to see.

EXTRA: This Taiwan Focus post, saved on my blog, written by someone I know to be an expert, has some very good background info on the arms purchase.

EXTRA: The pro-Blue China Post, traditionally pro-KMT and anti-Soong, attempted to recast the remarks as criticism of Soong’s PFP:

Young’s plea was directed at the People First Party, that is strongly opposed to the arms purchase.

James Soong, PFP chairman “on leave” to run for mayor of Taipei, considering the plea as “an ultimatum,” said he is not opposed to the package per se.

“What we oppose is a fool’s purchase,” Soong said. That is a purchase of overly priced weapons not necessarily suitable for Taiwan’s self-defense.

Soong said Young met him Wednesday. “I told him,” he stressed, “the United States ‘cannot tell us when to pass which piece of legislation.’” His party is most likely to ignore the plea and remain opposed to the purchase.

But as the Taipei Times and Feiren both pointed out in their discussions, Young’s remarks are directed at Taiwan’s leading invertebrate, Mayor Ma Ying-jeou of Taipei, Chairman of the KMT and presidential hopeful. This is a blunt warning about the future. Fortunately for the side of Right, I doubt the Blues will heed it.